Jul 30, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) hits a grand slam home run in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE: Alex Avila has since been cleared to play, so it appears that no concussion diagnosis had been made.
Alex Avila left Thursday night’s game early shortly after taking a foul ball off the mask, and reportedly was sent to the hospital for concussion tests. He’s now apparently heading back home to Detroit for further evaluation instead of traveling to New York with the team.
Jim Leyland doesn’t like to be short on catchers in case of an emergency situation, and the team doesn’t want to take any head-injury related risks with their players, so a stint on the 7-day concussion disabled list seems like a prudent manuever.
Avila, who wasn’t hitting well to begin the year, has been a plus bat for the Tigers during their 12-game winning streak. He’s hit .280/.333/.540 since the All-Star Break, including three home runs. But the Tigers will need his bat and health in October more than they need it now, so giving him the time off he needs to get healthy and stay healthy will help the team in the long run and, more importantly, prevent Avila’s noggin from turning into scrambled eggs.
Brayan Pena should see the bulk of the starts until Avila returns, and, if a DL stint comes (no official announcement has been made yet), Bryan Holaday will likely be recalled to serve as the backup catcher and make a start or two (especially against a lefty).